Breckenridge resort investigating inbounds avalanche near Imperial Chair; no injuries reported |

Breckenridge resort investigating inbounds avalanche near Imperial Chair; no injuries reported

Antonio Olivero
Summit Daily
Summit County Search and Rescue Group vehicle parked at Breckenridge Ski Resort Friday, March 8.
Hugh Carey / Summit Daily

Breckenridge Ski Resort continues to investigate an inbounds avalanche that occurred Friday afternoon on an expert-rated trail off the Imperial Express SuperChair.

Resort spokeswoman Sara Lococo said in a statement that Breckenridge Ski Patrol received a call regarding the avalanche at approximately 12:25 p.m., and responded immediately. The area was cleared at approximately 1:54 p.m.

“Breckenridge Ski Resort would like to commend Ski Patrol for their quick, skilled response and are grateful no injuries were sustained,” the resort’s statement read. “Breckenridge Ski Patrol regularly performs avalanche control work and mitigation across the resort and has been diligently focused on snow safety efforts, including today’s affected terrain, given this week’s extraordinary snowfall. Resort Ski Patrol continuously monitors snow conditions and weather forecasts, and evaluates terrain to the extent possible as conditions change.”

As of Friday at 4 p.m., Lococo said the resort could not provide additional information specific to the cause of the avalanche and whether or not anyone needed to be rescued as part of ski patrol’s response. Lococo said this is because the resort’s investigation is ongoing. The spokeswoman also said the resort will continue to gather information and provide updates as appropriate. 

The Summit County Rescue Group received an alert of the avalanche shortly after 12:30 p.m. The group’s spokesman, Charles Pitman, said that the rescue group was asked to stand down shortly before 2 p.m., as their help was not needed.

Breckenridge announced on its @BreckConditions Twitter feed at 11:15 a.m., on Friday that the Imperial Express SuperChair was open for the day.

The Imperial Chair, the highest chairlift in North America, services above-tree-line, high-alpine terrain from near the 12,998-foot summit of Peak 8, namely the double-black diamond Imperial Bowl.

On Thursday, Breckenridge did not open the Imperial Chair. Breckenridge opened some of its upper-mountain, above-treeline terrain — such as 6 chair, the T-Bar and Zendo and Kensho chairs — later in the afternoon on Thursday after initially reporting earlier on Thursday that its upper-mountain terrain would not open for the day, due to adverse conditions.